Wednesday, January 13, 2010

9 Secret Agent

TITLE: Seven Gates
GENRE: YA Fantasy

Sechra paused halfway up the last steep slope. She didn’t know what waited in the world on the other side but she knew she’d be foolish to meet it with her heartbeat uneven with climbing and her mind mazed with wishing and fearing. She breathed deeply. The warm sharp smell of late blackberries rose from the bramble thickets. Soon the frost would come, whether or not she was here to know it. She didn’t know how long it took to find the hidden spring or whether, having found it, you could come back.

Well, and she didn’t know if she’d want to come back to her aunt Rena’s house, to the Dunlin villagers who looked with wary curiosity at the outlander’s orphan, to the days of spinning and milking and gardening and small gossip. She had liked it little when she thought she had no other choice. Since she met the old woman yesterday she had been aware of something wild and sweet in the world around her, something she might miss.

Yesterday morning she had climbed into the hill-country blindly, hurrying away from the eyes of her neighbors. When she couldn’t walk any further she curled up in a sun-warmed hollow, closed her eyes and summoned up the dream-world, her native land, where the colors were richer and the shadows deeper, where she was brave and beautiful and beloved. No one was there to call her back into the world where they thought she should be at home.


  1. I'm not getting a sense of where this story is going. The MC is walking up a hill looking for a hidden spring and she wishes she was back in her native land, that's it.

    I like your descriptions, you paint a nice picture. I really liked this line:

    "Since she met the old woman yesterday she had been aware of something wild and sweet in the world around her, something she might miss."

    You may want to rethink the start and move it to where the story begins. I'm kinda curious to know what the story is all about, but, at the moment the 'hook' is missing.

    Good luck!

  2. There's some lovely writing in here, but it feels a little unformed. I want to see action, voice, and character before so much reflection and a segue straight into a flashback.

  3. I agree. Great voice and some beautiful descriptions--but what's going on? We don't need to know everything right up front, but I personally want a little more to tantalize me into reading on. At this point, there isn't enough of a story question to keep me going.

  4. I think the writing in itself is very good. I feel a little too much is thrown at me with the all the characters being tossed at me: villages, the aunt , the old woman. If the old woman is key to the story, or starts off the conflict, you may try focusing on that up front and more.

  5. The writing and descriptions are really good, but I agree with others who have said that it needs to begin with some action to keep people reading.

  6. I like your descriptions, setting, and your title. It's hard to know where it's going, but I'd keep reading to find out.

    My only suggestion is to perhaps break up some of those long sentences. (And you could prob delete the "Well, and" off the second paragraph.)

    Good luck.

  7. So, I'm reading about this girl who is climbing a steep hill, with the intent of entering a whole new world, and then ACK! - she goes into flashback!

    The new world is where I want to go. It's what I want to see.

    Perhaps cut the last parg. and replace it with her starting back up the hill and entering, or reaching the entrance, to this place. Save the flashback for a quieter, less interesting moment.

    And you might want to check the tenses in the last two sentences of the first parg.

    You had me, but then you let me get away!

  8. I'd cut that Well that starts the second paragraph. It and the pausing commma were an awkward break.

    I like the premise. I'm a huge fantasy fan, but I wonder if one would be ready to go away and posssibly never come back after only one day and one encounter (old woman) of being aware something was missing.

  9. I agree with what the others have said about this not hooking with jumping into flashback mode.

    Instead of cutting out the flashback, you could start with her meeting the old women. That's where it sounds like the story start. That pivotal moment gave her a strong enough feeling to leave her world. Let the reader feel it with her and you'll hook them.

  10. I like your writing style and description, and I would want to read more.

    My suggestion would be to make this chapter 2 and start with the action of why she ran away from her neighbors. What sparked this? Make it an action scene instead of a flashback.